It’s not that I don’t appreciate the Netflix series Money Heist (La Casa de Papel). It’s more that I never thought it would have such international allure.
It was a bit surprising that a show with such a specific set of characters who are Spaniards to the core and such a distinct use of the language – bordering on the poetic and hard to fully grasp even for native speakers sometimes – has become an international success. It’s been praised by the likes of Stephen King and has won an International Emmy.
If you enjoyed seasons 1 and 2 and maybe even learned some Spanish in the process, this cynical Spaniard has good news for you: You’ll enjoy part 3. A lot!
After stealing around a billion Euros from the Royal Mint in Madrid and managing to get away with it, the band of criminals is back together, with some new and welcome additions. One of the robbers, Río (Miguel Herrán) has been captured and tortured for information and the only people that can save him are his previous colleagues, since torturing is illegal, the Professor comes in front of everyone through a big screen and tells everyone that they are back and it’s going to be a war now. They have a new, bigger heist to pull off.
In season 3, they are also portraying Pakistan’s negative image. They have shown that a team of 65 people in Islamabad (Pakistan) is helping the Professor and his team in tracking the data and help them fight the war.
“With money to invest in R&D, you can achieve wonderful things. 3 weeks prior to the heist, we were inside both the CNI’s and the police’s mobile phone apps like WhatsApp. We can activate their microphones, cameras and GPS. It took less than an hour to take over the defense staff’s telecommunications. The work Rio used to do was now done by 65 Pakistanis. They are geniuses, thanks to them, we had access to everything.”
Yes, they still look fabulous. Even when they wear those red jumpers with Dalí masks and yes, El Profesor (Álvaro Morte) still has the same nerdy-foxy vibe and seems capable of pretty much anything – other than dancing. One scene set to Who Can It Be Now by Men at Work is as painful to watch as you’d expect when El Profesor is forced to show his lack of rhythm.
I enjoyed every minute of the three episodes from season 3 that Netflix made available for review, can’t wait to find out what actually happens.
Some of the narrative mechanisms of season 3 ring a bell. Sometimes things look like they’ll go terribly wrong but in the end our criminals rise to the occasion and we realize they were following a meticulous plan even though we were led to believe otherwise.
Like in previous seasons, action within the episodes doesn’t follow a chronological order. In this season, there are three moments in time or story lines that are mixed and interwoven. One takes place years ago, the other a few weeks ago and the last in the present. You’ll get to understand a certain reaction or get to know a certain new character only when Álex Pina, the show’s creator and co-writer, wants you to. It’s a very effective way of telling a story and Money Heist would be a much more conventional show and a boring one, if things were explained in the order they happened.
Then there are the jokes and that’s where some characters shine more than others. Denver (Jaime Lorente) and Nairobi (Alba Flores) continue to be two of the most consistently funny criminals. Mainly because they tend to embellish their speeches with the most flourished words.
Feminism continues to play a big role in the series. We’re talking about a show that came up with the term “empieza el matriarcado” (“the matriarchy begins”). There’s an argument the gang has at 3:00 a.m. in an Italian monastery during season 3 in which Nairobi tells Denver how old-fashioned he is. Palermo (Rodrigo de la Serna), one of the new characters, vindicates the patriarchy in a way that’s neither subtle nor politically correct. Yet it’ll probably make you laugh and the yelling only ends when El Profesor, in his blue-and-white striped Oxford pajamas, makes an appearance and asks everyone to please behave and go back to bed.
Besides de la Serna, Money Heist’s new characters include singer and actress Najwa Nimri as Alicia Sierra. Her character describes her as a ruthless woman keen on catching our sympathetic criminals.
Aside from the new faces, one of the main differences between this season and the previous ones is that Madrid isn’t the only main setting. The show feels more international with sequences shot in Florence, Panama City and the Guna Yala archipelago.
Get ready to binge-watch Netflix’s most watched non-English language.
However, since Money Heist is a Netflix original series, one can only watch it on the streaming platform.